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Is India ready to go the Electric Way?

Electric vehicles are the need of the hour but, is India really ready for it? A survey shows that electrics vehicles are ideal for Indians as 75% of them travel less than 1000 km in cars in a month. Additionally, a recent study shows that in India, 1% of the total sales were from Electric Vehicles last year. It also suggests that about 40% of the car users in India want to pay less for an electric vehicle and 30% are willing to pay the same amount.

An online survey by Climate Trends showed that air pollution was one of the chief reasons to buy an electric vehicle. Another important appealing fact is that it costs less per kilometer to recharge an EV (Electric Vehicle) compared to a petrol and diesel vehicle.

However, potential buyers need more than noble intentions and improved future economic gains to choose an electric vehicle over conventional vehicles. Even for short-term economic benefits, the government must make sure to have adequate charging infrastructure in the market.

With the pollution levels rising in India, electric vehicles will prove to be helpful in reducing it.

Advantages of using electric vehicles in India.

  • EVs are environment friendly. Unlike conventional vehicles that release harmful emissions into the air, EVs release 0% emissions. This will help in cleaning the air and bringing down the temperatures. Additionally, EVs use pollution free resources and renewable energy resources such as solar and electric.

  • Electric vehicles are fairly new to the Indian market and manufacturing in India will open doors to employment. This will surely bring about a positive change in the nation’s economy.

  • Automakers such as Tata Motors, Mahindra & Mahindra, Ola, Uber , state-run firms and start-ups are all interested in developing the charging stations for electric vehicles. A major reason why key automakers have invested in India is due to the fact that it is the fourth largest market for automobiles and the largest market for two-wheelers.

  • Electricity is cheaper than petrol and diesel in India. Also, there are fluctuations in the fuel prices while the prices of electricity are constant most of the time.

  • Electric vehicles are easy to operate and handle. They create a great driving experience.

  • EVs are one-time investment and maintenance cost is also negligible. One or two units of electricity is all that is needed to recharge the electric vehicle unlike constant refueling in conventional vehicles. Several automobile manufacturers are also designing household charging sockets.

The government of India is also preparing a fresh policy for promoting electric vehicles.

Initially, it will be done on a smaller scale to ensure better transition and smoother cooperation from the automobile sector. In fact, in a summit held in the month of September, heads of top auto companies such as Mahindra and Hyundai, outlined their own visions along with their respective companies’ objectives. They also appealed the government to be more proactive in promoting the use of electric vehicles.

But with every new technology there comes a series of faults, crises and problems. Lets not avoid them as well!

What are the disadvantages of using electric cars in India?

  • The biggest disadvantage is the limited offers. Currently there are only a few players in the Indian market. At present, automakers such as Mahindra have their Reva and e-Verito, Honda have their Accord , Toyoto have their Camry hybrids while Tata has its e-Tigor in the Indian market. While most of these vehicles are mild hybrids, the government and the automakers will have to team up and increase the awareness about the advantages of electric vehicles and slowly shift all vehicles to electric.

  • Another disadvantage is that the batteries have to be recharged regularly and India is not well equipped with charging stations. Compared to the 56,000 traditional fuel stations available in India, there are only 222 community charging stations. This is a major drawback and if India really wants to see a growth rate in the electric vehicles then developing the charging infrastructure is a must. Tesla has introduced Superchargers at many locations in the US for their electric vehicles.

  • High prices. As electric vehicles are still in its nascent stage in India, the prices are likely to be high. And this does not appeal the Indian consumer. However, if more and more people begin to use it, the price can be brought down and made more sustainable.

Why is it so difficult?

Firstly, you need to understand that developing an electric vehicle in not easy as it may seem. It has complex technological requirements. Its main unit is the battery and the production of these batteries on a large scale is a challenging task. In addition , the batteries require a continuous supply of electricity along with proper charging infrastructure.

Recently, automotive giant Tesla broke ground on a new Gigafactory , with an estimated battery production of 35 gigawatt-hour capacity and increasing.

Earlier this year, Elon Musk, co-founder and CEO of Tesla Inc decided to build the world’s largest lithium-ion battery. This was in bid to secure Australi’s power supply after a massive black-out. However, despite his good intentions, Musk found himself caught in the political turmoil.

In a recent interview with Australia’s 60 Minutes, Musk disclosed his worries regarding the political conflict over Australia’s future energy sources and power costs.

Other auto manufacturers like Gogoro have also proposed swapping the batteries on the go. If at all this model is successful, it will open doors for new battery service providers and also eliminate the need for charging the batteries on your own.

Gogoro, also known as the Tesla of the scooters is a Taiwanese company that is set to enter the Indian market. It raised $150 million before unveiling its smart electric scooter. Interestingly, as a company, Gogoro is making two things: A Smartscooter (electric scooter) and a battery swapping infrastructure.

India and EVs

Here’s a list of some of the EVs that have been launched or going to be launched in India. This list shows only zero-emissions electric vehicles and not traditional hybrid vehicles.

  • Fleets are using Tata Electric cars

  • The largest selling electric cars in India are Mahindra e2o, e2o Plus & e-Verito. Its sales are picking up in the fleet sector.

  • The largest e-scooter company is Hero Electric

  • Ather Energy has launched their line of premium electric scooters in India

  • Tork Motorcyles are very soon going to launch an electric motorbike – T6X

  • Several Lithium-ion bakes e-bikes are also set to enter the Indian market soon

  • Start-ups, small/medium electric vehicle companies such as NDS Eco, Okinawa, LightSpeed and Being Human are also planning to launch their own line of EVs.

  • There are possibilities of Plugin Hybrids in the near future

Most EV manufacturers and sellers are waiting for a single policy that will create a roadmap for EV ecosystem in India. The ecosystem also includes charging stations and buying and manufacturing incentives. The need to push the matter further lies between the government and the manufacturers. Hopefully, with better regulations and cleaner air India will see a better future

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